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'Backyard Story Night' Celebrates Three Years

Mikayla Slimmer

Meg Mattingly and John Brewster have been hosting Backyard Story Night for three years now. It's a simple idea -- people come together and tell stories in a backyard. The storytellers aren't curated or vetted ahead of time, so Mattingly and Brewster are as surprised by  their stories as the rest of the audience. The only restriction put in place is a relatively laxly enforced five-minute time limit.

The event quickly grew in popularity, mostly due to word-of-mouth, and eventually the hosts found themselves trying to fit hundreds of people into one backyard (and also trying to accommodate hundreds of people with just one bathroom inside the house).

The increasing size of the story night's crowds led Mattingly and Brewster to seek out a real-deal venue, and the eventually settled on the Scoot Inn, which has been a good fit. "The Scoot Inn has that kind of backyard feel," Brewster says, "and they have appropriate numbers of bathrooms."

Aside from the new location, Backyard Story Night has remained relatively unchanged. "The beauty... of Backyard Story Night," Mattingly says, "is that it felt like a group of friends just hanging out and telling a story."

Backyard Story Night celebrates its third anniversary April 3 at the Scoot Inn.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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